“God heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 NIV
So I think most women are pretty open and most of all tell the most intimate details of our lives to anyone who stands still long enough. At least I do.
But I still don’t think I ever really know someone’s story. You may see people in passing, strike up the basic small talk and sometimes it’s not until much time has passed that you really learn something significant.
Well in my quest to get fit, I have been spending a lot of time at the gym. I took up Zumba which I love and there is this one instructor that I really enjoy. I’ve been taking her class for over a year now and find her positive, encouraging and highly energetic. What I know of her until recently was that she was a mom of 3 children and a good dancer. She is very tiny and I tease her that I can’t believe 3 human beings have come out of her body. She always laughs. But that was about it until recently.
One day, we began speaking after class and I told her about our move, us being a military family, etc. She seemed so excited about our move to Hawaii and spoke of her family in the Philippines. She told me that she would like to visit Hawaii, maybe on a “hop”. Because she used that term, I asked if she or her spouse was military and she proceeds to tell me that her husband was in the military and she is a “survivor spouse”. I felt a tightening in my chest and an ache for her. We began to talk for a while and she told me how her husband died in 2007 (not sure if in combat or not and I didn’t ask) and she has been raising her 3 very young boys on her own. My son plays with her son while we work out and I saw her with her children. But I had no idea. She goes on to say that her father had passed away the month after her husband. She said it was such a difficult time for her and her mother both….her mother and brothers are local only extended relatives in Philippines. And they are very close and have supported one another through the years.
She was sensitive without being emotional and strong without being hardened. It was so amazing to listen to her. I asked her how she did it and she said that you just find the strength as a mother of young children and move forward because you have to. Wow, I was so inspired and walked away from our conversation feeling so encouraged by her. What a testimony.
People are always thanking me for my sacrifice and service, but I have given nothing in comparison nor have I been required to sacrifice as much. I learned a lot that day and will never forget that encounter. Just when you think you know someone’s story, we really don’t at all.